Summary: Observe 4 things: The Overwhelming Army, A Trembling Servant, The Invisible Protectors, & The Courageous Man of God. Then I want to draw 3 conclusions from these observations. (Powerpoints Available - #199)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
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ILL. Before Allied forces invaded Iraq Saddam Hussein boasted that if Iraq was attacked the world would see "The Mother of All Battles." But he was wrong.
Instead, let me suggest a scripture that describes what I believe could be called the "Mother of All Battles." In Ephesians 6:12 the apostle Paul writes,
"For our struggle is not against flesh & blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world & against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
ILL. Back in the 1990's two of Frank Paretti's best-selling Christian fiction books were "This Present Darkness" & it's sequel, "Piercing the Darkness."
In them Paretti took some liberties with scripture. For example, the Bible doesn't portray demons as spewing sulfur from their nostrils. But he did do a good job of bringing the subject of spiritual warfare to our attention.
B. So this morning we're going once again to read about a time of war in the Middle East recorded in the 6th chapter of 2 Kings. And in that account we see God working miraculously, & the enemy totally overcome.
But most importantly, we will learn that "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." (2 Kings 6:16)
C. In 2 Kings 6:8 we read that Benhadad, King of Syria, was at war with Israel & often sent his army to attack towns along the Israeli border. But Israel had an early warning system in the person of Elisha, a prophet of God.
You see, Elisha was a dedicated & faithful prophet, & God enabled him to perform many amazing miracles. God also revealed to Elisha everything Benhadad planned to do in his war against Israel.
Then Elisha would warn Jehoram, the king of Israel, "Send reinforcements there." Or, "Avoid that place because the Syrians are plotting an ambush there."
This happened so often that it nearly drove Benhadad crazy. He called a special meeting of his military council & demanded, "Will you not tell me which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?" (2 Kings 6:11)
Well, one of his officers mustered up the courage to tell Benhadad, "None of us, my Lord the king, ...but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom." (2 Kings 6:12)
Benhadad is enraged. His trusted servants are telling him, "Benhadad, you've been had." So Benhadad put Elisha on a "hit" list. In vs. 13 he says in effect, "Find him. I don't care how you find him, but when you find him, get him!"
Well, in short order a resourceful Syrian spy reports that Elisha was staying in the town of Dothan about 9 1/2 miles north of Samaria, the capitol of Israel.
PROP. And as we continue reading we will observe 4 things: The Overwhelming Army, A Trembling Servant, The Invisible Protectors, & The Courageous Man of God. Then I want to draw 3 conclusions from these observations.
I. THE OVERWHELMING ARMY
A. First of all, observe The Overwhelming Army. Vs. 14 says that Benhadad "sent horses & chariots & a strong force there. They went by night & surrounded the city." The Amplified Bible says that Benhadad sent a "great army" to Dothan, & things looked very bad for the prophet Elisha.
B. You know, at times things look rather bad for the church, too. We're surrounded by pornographers, by drug dealers, by militant homosexuals who are becoming more & more militant every day.
ILL. We're surrounded by atheists & humanists like Corlyss Lamont, the father of Humanism, who once proclaimed, "While we live, lets live in clover, for when we're dead, we're dead all over."
Well, Corlyss Lamont is now dead & I'm convinced that it isn't all over for poor Corlyss.
Sad to say, we're also surrounded, it seems, by a number of weak-willed senators & congressmen, & perhaps worst of all, by a thoroughly anti Christian media.
And in addition to that, we're surrounded by an entertainment industry that often delights in blaspheming Jesus Christ.
Paul felt this way in 2 Corinthians 4:8 when he said, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."
II. THE TREMBLING SERVANT
Now we can take one of two approaches to this situation. We can either take the fearful approach of the servant, or the positive approach of Elisha.
2 Kings 6:15-16 tells us, "When the servant of the man of God got up & went out early the next morning, an army with horses & chariots had surrounded the city. 'Oh, my Lord, what shall we do?' the servant asked."